By Ryan Palencer
PLAINFIELD — PLAINFIELD — For the second time this season, Plainfield has been forced to finish a football game on Saturday morning after a postponement due to inclement weather the night prior.
The first time, the Quakers fell to Roncalli. On this occasion, Plainfield came out on top, defeating visiting Decatur Central, 17-14.
“I am extremely impressed, extremely proud, and happy,” Plainfield coach Brian Woodard said. “They could have threw in the towel at any point and decided not to make the play today. Whether it was Garrett Patton’s blocked punt for a touchdown or Morgan Hagee’s kick to win it, those kind of plays were the ones that we needed.”
The game resumed with 4:57 on the clock in the first quarter and Decatur Central (3-3) in possession on its own 32-yard-line. After crossing midfield, Plainfield forced and recovered a fumble by Hawks quarterback Taylor Douglass.
However, the Quakers (4-2) also turned the ball over on an interception by Jacob Jay after Jay was crushed and the ball popped up in the air.
The remainder of the first half followed a similar trend of dominant defense, as the Hawks turned the ball over on downs twice and Plainfield punted once.
Senior running back Austin Blevins led the way for the Quakers in the first two periods with 59 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. Jay completed 5 of 6 passes for 91 yards.
Plainfield began the second half with a 16-play drive that took almost eight minutes off the clock. However, the drive came up empty with a missed 39-yard field goal attempt.
After a Decatur three-and-out, the momentum really shifted in the Quakers’ favor. Patton blocked a punt and Logan Beck recovered the ball in the end zone, giving the Quakers a 14-7 lead with 3:33 remaining in the third quarter.
“Many coaches say that a blocked punt for a touchdown is one of the biggest momentum plays in football,” Woodard said. “It certainly was for us today.”
Plainfield built on that surge with another lengthy drive after another Decatur Central three-and-out. However, the Quakers risked a fourth-and-goal and were not able to punch it in, turning the ball over on downs.
Not pushing the ball in turned out to be huge as Douglas hit Eli Conlin on a 96-yard pass and run for a touchdown to even the score at 14-14 with 7:58 remaining in the game.
After each team punted, the Quakers ate much of the remaining clock and Hagee nailed a 42-yard, game-winning field goal with just under a minute remaining. Hunter Smith sealed the victory with an interception of Douglas.
Blevins led the way for Plainfield with 165 yards on 31 carries.
“(Blevins) did some great things today and made some short runs into long ones,” Woodard said. “That’s what we expect from him. I am very happy and proud.”
Plainfield will look to build on this momentum as they travel to Franklin at 7 p.m. Friday.